Catholic priest at war with siblings over family land

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 13 April 2016 | 4,426 times

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Reverend Father Michael Ezeatu of Awka Diocese, Anambra State, is at daggers-drawn with two of his siblings, Arinze and Olisa, over a family land.

In a chat with News Express on Monday, the Head of Ezeatu family, Mr Olisa Ezeatu, and his youngest brother, Arinze, said that their relationship with the Catholic priest has been damaged irretrievably as a result of the land dispute.

They alleged that the reverend father has become a thorn in their flesh by his actions, including the taking of their land.

The letter they wrote to the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, on the matter reads in part: “My Lord, we can no longer bear the shame and disgrace our brother’s actions and utterances bring to us and we need your help to redress the situation.

“We are tired of being asked, ‘Is he still a priest?’ Our desire is that God will help our brother to represent a true Catholic priest.

“Secondly, antecedents have shown that Fr. Mike and Joseph (his mentor) are capable of anything for the sake of money and property, including bloodshed.”

The letter led to a meeting with the bishop, but that did not achieve the expected results as the reverend rather was said to have entered the disputed family land shortly after the meeting and fell the economic trees therein in his bid to assert possession.

When contacted on the telephone over the matter, Bishop Ezeokafor said he would continue to mediate on the issue. In his words, “The Rev Father lives in the United States; anytime he comes around, I will continue with the mediation. But if in the end they are not satisfied with my mediation on the matter they can look for justice elsewhere.”

According to the Ezeatus, “What we want is for Father Mike to leave us alone. Let him enjoy his wealth and leave us alone in peace. That’s all we need from him. We can’t allow him to take our family land that is not due to him.”

For this, they have approached a lawyer, D.C. Ononiba, Esq., to advance their cause.

Their lawyer’s letter to Father Mike reads: “Warning to henceforth desist from further meddling into our common land and to stop any further destruction of economic trees on the said land as you have no right whatsoever to do so without our client’s (Olisa’s)consent or permission

“It is our instruction that you are a Catholic priest and a younger brother of full blood with our client.

“It is also our further instructions that our client’s father married two wives during his life time and that his first wife, late Caroline Ezeatu, begot only one son namely Hon Joseph Ezeatu while his second wife, late Augustina Ezeatu, begot four sons namely our client Olisa Ezeatu who is her first son, late Patrick Ezeatu, who is the second son, yourself who is the third son and Arinze Ezeatu, the last son.

“We were also informed that late Patrick Ezeatu died in January 2013 without any issue and in accordance with the custom and tradition of Adazi Enu the said parcel of land which was given to late Patrick Ezeatu as homestead before his death automatically reverted back to the sons of Augustina Ezeatu being the immediate siblings to the said late Patrick Ezeatu.

“It is also our instructions that our client has repeatedly sent emissaries to you to warn you and your cohorts to desist from your actions and to stay away from the said land as your actions of forcefully entering the said land without the consent and permission of our client as the 1st son of your mother amount to insubordination and gross misconduct unbecoming of a Catholic priest.

“In view of all the circumstances and our instructions we are warning you and your cohorts to henceforth desist from all your action with respect to the said land.”

Efforts by News Express to directly reach Father Mike for comments are yet to bear fruit.

•Photo shows Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, whose mediation has failed to bear fruit.

Source: News Express

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